What do these all have in common? The suffix “cide”, which means killer or the act of killing.
To be clear, I’m not equating the aforementioned to each other; I cannot imagine the horrors of genocide, homicide, or suicide.
But I am feeling heartbroken and sick to my stomach because of pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides.
I’ve worked hard to create an organic oasis in both our yard and the yard of our rental house yard (which is right next door).
I don’t talk about it much but everything I do as a gardener is tied to helping pollinators. My husband, John, calls me his pollinator and even tells people I’m a pollinator.
And it’s true.
I don’t just plant annuals; I plant annuals that are known to attract and feed pollinators. Same with herbs and perennials and bushes and trees and…well, you get the picture.
This spring, we decided to turn part of the rental yard lawn into a mini-meadow. While John did the hard work of removing the grass, we’ve both enjoyed watching the seeds sprout and the seedlings emerge. The new meadow is against a fence, on the other side of which is a public park. In addition to being pretty and attracting pollinators, the meadow may also give parkgoers ideas for transforming their own yards.
One evening earlier this week, I was sitting on the deck and John was next door watering the wildflower seedlings and some other perennials we transplanted. I noticed a tractor in the park but didn’t know what it was doing. When they cut the grass or groom the baseball fields, they typically do it early in the morning. But I thought maybe they were running way behind and playing catch up.
Well, I was wrong.
John told me they were spraying the grass in the park. And I just about flipped out.
After I said a few choice words and managed to calm down, he told me talked with the woman driving the sprayer and explained we were growing wildflowers and he would appreciate if she didn’t spray close to them. According to John, she was very nice, told him she is the only one who sprays, and she’ll remember.
Me being me, I asked him if he asked her how she feels about poisoning herself and Mother Nature. It was hot that evening and she was covered head to toe.
My first reaction to all of this is wanting to line the side fence in the rental yard and both back fences with signs like:
- Your Kids are Playing in a Death Zone (Did I mention they were spraying while kids were playing baseball?)
- Sycamore Township: Where Green Playing Fields are More Important Than Your Health
- You’re Breathing What They’re Spraying
I’m still overwhelmed and working through the dismay. However, instead of going around and around in my mind, I decided to treat this like a work project so I came up with the following to do/to remember list:
- Focus even more on our organic oasis and expand it little by little each year.
- Keep donating to organizations like the Xerces Society.
- Help the native bees by putting up bee houses and waiting to clean up the garden until well into the spring.
- Certify my garden as a wildlife habitat and proudly display a couple of their signs along the fences.
- Continue hosting a hive through Gaiser Bee Co.
- Reach out to the Parks & Recreation Director to learn more and share my concerns.
- Be an informed consumer and choose to spend my money in ways that support my beliefs.
- Keep learning.
- Keep sharing.
- Remember that my religion is nature. While I cannot affect the entire world, I have to believe that what I’m doing helps.